The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—Somehow it strikes me as ludicrous that any group in this country can be so conservative and reactionary as to promote a massive letter-writing campaign for the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren—yet our newspapers say that such is the latest undertaking of the John Birch Society. I note that they now disavow charges that President Eisenhower was a card-carrying Communist, but really, how silly can we become?

These proposals for fighting Communism use the same methods that the Communists use and we do not see anything funny in that. I am beginning to feel that the best treatment for organizations of this kind is to regain our sense of humor and laugh them out of court. You certainly cannot argue with a man who seriously considers that President Eisenhower or anyone in his Administration was inclined toward Communism, and to make similar charges against the Chief Justice of the United States is to count on an amount of credulity among our citizens which I think does not exist. Few indeed except the young, who are impressionable and may like novelty and action, are going to look upon the previous Administration or the Chief Justice as Communists or even faintly influenced by Communism.

It is good to know that the Justice Department is seriously investigating violence in Mississippi. That news photograph of the police with the dogs attacking the Negro who was peacefully demonstrating will take a long time to fade from people's memories. The colored people in Mississippi were not engaging in violence. We know, in spite of this fact, that it may not be possible for the Federal government to take any action to prevent such cruelties in the future; but we feel sure they will do all they can. I hope the people of Mississippi realize that this picture went around the world, that there was probably no small village in Asia or Africa where one may not come across it in years to come.

In the U. N. and in SEATO, our representatives struggle for friendship for the United States and solutions to world problems. Our Our representatives around the world do the same in their respective posts. They are very conscious that the white race is a minority race in the world, and that though we in the U. S. may feel strong and invincible, civilizations such as ours have toppled before and the world has had to crawl back through dark ages.

I wonder if there were any places in Mississippi where groups such as the Quakers gathered as they did here in New York to hold a continuous prayer vigil ending in the Sunrise Service on Easter Day? They prayed here in New York for peace; but international peace can never come about until we have first of all peace within ourselves, peace with our neighbors of every creed, race and color within our own country. Only then can we hope to bring about the peace for which so many demonstrate but for which so few really seem to work.

Congolese leaders seem to hope, in spite of the sporadic war between their troops, that they may be able to get together on some type of federation basis. Their present constitution was adopted as a temporary one, and under it the basic law was written. If they are willing to function under the basic law and to give to a central government certain clearly-cut areas such as finance, foreign affairs and control of the army, much of the day-by-day policies and development could be left to the different tribal groups. These live so far apart and have such poor communication that it would be difficult for a central government to deal with the changes that must come about as the country as a whole develops and makes ever greater contact with the outside world.

It was sad to read in the papers of a kidnapping plot involving little Caroline Kennedy. A fearless and independent child is difficult to protect, and the anxiety which grows in the hearts of parents who know their children are perhaps in constant danger is not something that helps one to do one's work without strain. It is, however, an anxiety which every parent in the White House has lived with. One can only hope that this child can be kept safe and at the same time be allowed to retain her sense of freedom and independence and the friendliness which is such a delightful asset in a youngster of her age.

E. R.

(Copyright, 1961, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 3, 1961

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.